Jami-Lee Ross versus Barry Soper

After Jami-Lee Ross was revealed as one of the four people charged by the SFO over the National Party donations issue he released a statement saying he couldn’t say much, but it’s too long to repeat in full here. He headed it ‘Spoke Up Now Set Up’, and began:

Just like donations to political parties, the justice system should be open and transparent. That is what I believe and have sought.

Until now, however, I have been unable to make a public statement regarding these allegations, despite wanting to do so.

That is because at the end of January, the three people responsible for the donations to the National Party in 2017 and 2018 made an urgent application for suppression of their names and any details that might identify them. I was not aware of their application at the time. I made no application for suppression of my own name or details.

While shocked that I had been targeted by the SFO, I had no intention of hiding away. I always wanted to make it very clear that as the whistle blower on this deception, it was outrageous that I was then charged and that others were seeking to implicate me, making me their expendable scape goat.

However, I couldn’t speak up, as I needed to respect the right of those three people to seek name suppression. Further, even though I made no application for name suppression, the same protection was extended to me by the Court despite me not wanting that.

I have complied with the court’s orders to date, as is expected of any person in my position. The public could rightly be outraged, if I did not respect the court’s decision, or if I sought to abuse my freedom of speech in the Parliament to circumvent that decision.

However, in later court documents my lawyers have made it clear that I never sought name suppression and that I do not want it. I have therefore proactively sought to have the suppression orders lifted so that I can make this statement.

Barry Soper has a different take on things: If Ross didn’t want name suppression why did he threaten me?

Surely this came from a man who was muzzled against his will, from a person who blew the whistle that’s now rendered him deaf.

That’s what Jami-Lee Ross, one of the four defendants to the Serious Fraud Office charges which go before the Auckland District Court next week, would have us believe.

The other three, Chinese businessmen who donated two hundred grand to the National Party over two years when Ross was the bagman, made an urgent application for name suppression when the charges were laid, he tells us in a statement where he’s painted himself as very much the victim.

And just to reinforce his muzzled state because of their actions, he says he was unaware an application for suppression was being made and his lawyers didn’t make one for him. He goes on, he had no intention of hiding away but he couldn’t speak up because of the actions his three co-defendants had taken.

The court suppressed his name despite the fact that he didn’t want it, he claims. Furthermore, Ross said the public could be rightly outraged if he didn’t respect the court’s decision, or if he sought to abuse his freedom of speech in Parliament to circumvent the decision.

Then he went on to protest his innocence, vowing to fight the charges just as the three donors have.

For an accused who so desperately wanted to speak out it’s a little difficult to gel that with his lawyers’ reaction to my publicly naming him as one of the defendants on the day the Serious Fraud Office said it was laying charges.

In a text exchange they were blunt to say the least, telling me I was in contempt – the matter is before the court. They told me action would be taken the following day unless his name was taken down from our website: “You are on notice,” they warned.

It was pointed out to them the matter hadn’t been to court yet and maybe they should have been quicker off the mark if they wanted suppression of their client’s name.

“Charges are laid, it’s before the court – we can’t seek suppression till then. The SFO will be in contact. They are also very angry as it now risks the case.

“This contempt is actionable and worse for you, now admitted by you as intentional – ring your lawyers.”

And just to add a final threatening slap, after I said Ross had been named in the public interest, the text read: “I don’t want any crap Barry – but this was silly.”

David Farrar makes a similar claim:

Of course Ross goes on to claim he is innocent, has been set up and Simon Bridges is the Villain. He may be hoping the trial won’t happen until after the election in September.

I’ll wait until the court case reveals what actual evidence there is.

Ross claims to have new evidence  that will turn the legal tide – but like Cameron Slater (who has backed Ross against National) and Winston Peters (who Slater has backed against National)  often make ‘we have evidence’ but fail to produce it. Or at least we are still waiting for them to come up with it.

Claire Trevett: Jami-Lee Ross SFO charges – blowing the whistle NZ politics’ greatest own goal

That’s behind the NZH pay wall, but the headline probably says it all.

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12 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  20th February 2020

    See the thimble
    “For an accused who so desperately wanted to speak out it’s a little difficult to gel that with his lawyers’ reaction to my publicly naming him as one of the defendants on the day the Serious Fraud Office said it was laying charges.”

    Ross says he didnt want the suppression and he wasnt represented in court when the other 3 got suppression.
    “His lawyer” it seems jumped the gun when he txted Soper. And was pulled back by Ross when it came to a court hearing. There may have been a misunderstanding by his lawyer

    He DIDNT want name suppression and thats the reason he DIDNT have a lawyer present when the judge considered the matter.

    Soper is misrepresenting the circumstances

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  20th February 2020

      ”His lawyer” it seems jumped the gun when he txted Soper. And was pulled back by Ross when it came to a court hearing. There may have been a misunderstanding by his lawyer.”

      You than surmise with certainty, the following:

      ‘Soper is misrepresenting the circumstances.’

      There may have been a misunderstanding. But what was the standing brief Ross gave his lawyer? We don’t know. And when it comes to legal representation my lawyer always makes it clear he wants the truth and clear communication.There’s no room for ‘misunderstandings’ during court proceedings.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  20th February 2020

        Its clear there was misunderstanding.
        Lawyer contacts Soper
        Lawyer doesnt appear at court for name suppression.
        Only one of those was explicit instructions from Ross, guess which one ?

        What a perfect world you must live in if there are no misunderstandings.
        Im wondering about the nature of the lawyer being communication with Soper via text at all.
        ( Do all lawyers have Sopers phone number ? )Was he a source for Soper , with plausible denial for Ross who was OK with it?

        Was this case of the wires crossed but which reveals more to the careful observer

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  20th February 2020

          ‘What a perfect world you must live in if there are no misunderstandings.’

          Oh, there’s many misunderstandings in my world. But not during legal procedings.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  20th February 2020

            You said it, we didn’t.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  20th February 2020

              Sounds like a high priced QC….
              Many many years ago I was watching one lawyer in court , the groans from the rest of the audience as he muddled along were amusing,

            • Corky

               /  20th February 2020

              It wasn’t Mike Bungay..that’s for sure.

            • Corky

               /  20th February 2020

              To have many misunderstandings in life…you have to have many people in your life. Enough said.

  2. duperez

     /  20th February 2020

    Just wondering. Politicians have positions to protect. They have agendas. They have to be accountable and sometimes they seem to not like that. Whichever side of whichever fence they’re on and whatever the subject is, someone is ready to attack them and what they’ve said or think.
    They happen to be human beings too unfortunately with all the flaws and foibles possible.

    Journalists are often seen as a species to be protected because they are the bastions we need, they have essential roles in the scheme of things. They are the ones to protect us.

    They too happen to be human with all the same flaws and foibles. They too have agendas and motivations. Should the nobility of what they are about and the vital nature of what they do mean that some elements be overlooked? They are doing God’s work so all is okay?

    It’s not unexpected that journalists seeing and hearing the goings on will think that Jami-Lee Ross is an a’hole or is acting like one. David Farrar and Barry Soper are probably in good seats when it comes to judging that quality. As well as Ross having an agenda, ‘playing a game,’ journalists play their games too. Like Sean Plunket with Andrew Little recently.

    Are the agendas of journalists purely God’s work and to be accepted as that and nothing else?

    Reply
  3. Duker

     /  20th February 2020

    “That’s behind the NZH pay wall, but the headline probably says it all.”
    No it doesnt say it all, headlines never do. Wishful thinking?
    This is what it says
    “In the court of public opinion, the entire story is a rank one for the National Party – regardless of whether they are in the dock. However it is spun, and whoever is involved, it is not a good look for the party. It fuels suspicion.

    “But National has a lot more to lose and this will now plague it in an election year, including potentially damaging evidence from those charged.
    ..
    “The saga is worse for Jami-Lee Ross but it is still grim reading for National. It adds to the wider sense of suspicion around donations to political parties.”

    Will Bridges be subpoenaed to give evidence and while in the witness box be cross examined by Ross’s lawyer.

    Reply
  4. oldlaker

     /  20th February 2020

    Strange ending to a story that alleges Ross has scored an own goal and that he has more to lose than National: “[Ross’s allegations] may well have been a kamikaze attack.”
    Does the writer understand that kamikaze attacks “sank 34 ships and damaged hundreds of others during the war. At Okinawa, they inflicted the greatest losses ever suffered by the U.S. Navy in a single battle, killing almost 5000 men”?
    The Twin Tower attacks were also (Saudi) kamikaze missions that changed the course of US and Middle East politics.
    Ross may go down in a heap (and prison) but he’ll think it’s worth if he takes down Bridges (and maybe Bennett) on the way down.
    He’s already ended Sarah Dowie’s career as an MP but that was just collateral damage. The scalp he wants is Bridges’. He’ll stop at nothing to get it.
    The largely middle-class media simply don’t understand someone like Ross who grew up dirt poor and unwanted. They can’t understand why anyone would put themselves in harm’s way and not play the political game they would themselves if they were in his position.
    He’s after utu. My guess is that he’ll get it… one way or another.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  20th February 2020

      As I noted, a suicide bomber. But not guaranteed to take out anyone except himself and perhaps his office staff. Probably short of lunch dates now, folks being wary of that big belt and odd looking lumpiness.

      Reply

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